[Not really. Well, a little. Photo by brother monk, Leonard Falcon]
In Excelsis Deo - A Surrealist Carol For Madrigal Choir To Be Sung While Bathing
Hair of soap and head of tears
rinse mine eyes of Christmas stars
O bells, the bells sear me
Wash my hair of splendid fears
water me hot and redly rare
O trumps, the trumpets blear me
Scars heal me up to here
scald me pinkly if you dare
O gay, the gay sleds slay me
Is that flesh floating on the surface me
who swims or sinks fraternally?
I know a strange me
with soap for eyes
and suds for see
I greet you all, dear friends,
ye wishers from the well,
ye hand washed and heavily blanketed,
All ye of the runny noses,
Christmas day I shall go to Virage Bistro for brunch alone and read, seriously, Nietzsche while feasting upon my annual merguez sausage and Eggs Zarathustra replete with heartburn in honor of his notion of "eternal return", his love of one's solitary "fete" (amor fati) while proclaiming the fate of the culture which shares semblance to his...many a lively conversation has been struck up with servers and customers at nearby tables humored by my Christmas reading material. This tradition of a "secular monk" started 10 years ago when a client who worked for a publishing company gave me a new Nietzsche biography which I spontaneously grabbed off the stacks on my way out the door to Virage "on Christmas Day in the mornin'". I discovered that it was actually calming and peaceful keeping good company with myself, book-in-hand, sipping espresso, savoring the merguez, the eggs (broken, scrambled, o broken), later the dessert cheeses "sans Jesus" (nothing personal), with Nietzsche's voice insisting from the page for musing and underlining.
Novelist Flannery O' Connor once spoke of the American South as being "Christ haunted". Well, Nietzsche, a Protestant Reform preacher's kid, was most certainly "gods haunted", earnestly, zealously applying himself to his task which has collectively been refused by world culture, most definitely by the Church and its Protestant "step children", the task of Being, of wrestling a new culture destined to come into being into beginning-being at the end of the slowly receding aion...and how does one wrestle with that which is as yet substantial, the new world culture, but by turning to the task in our laps and wrestling personally with the too substantial and barnacled culture at hand, Western Civilization and, now contaminated by the West, Eastern and other culture...Nietzsche loudly pointed out where "we" Westwards went wrong by the Greeks (refusing the challenge of the Pre-Socratics) which a la Socrates/Plato divided our awareness into subject and object, thus our language/worldview/optical lenses divide us still from more direct experience of being, of existence (many Westerners now chase Eastern tails to hopefully capture direct experience and thereby more truly exist consciously while existing). He saw and felt/intuited all of this well ahead of the collective swarm, the consequent-from-logical-cosmological inexorable conclusions of the culture bearing out in the 20th century, and bearing still out in the 21st, which Nietzsche is in large part blamed for. Kill the messenger! But Friedrich has not been easy to kill off as a true diagnosis can be ignored but not killed off. Scapegoated, yes. Denied, yes. The very style of his writings is contra consciousness of the culture he found himself within and outside of, foundering but not without his still dynamic offerings shaking what was thought to be forever secure foundations. We have yet to give Nietzsche his due and he is read by very few though many, many seem to think they know him through and through and are therefore through with him.
But his solitary all-too-human foresight is not easily subjected to cultural
I have no brilliance whatsoever or if even a little bit of glitter is upon me it does not compare to Friedrich who suffered such tremendous loneliness yet managed within it to turn it to both "good and evil" purposes, attempting a conscious breaking down of collective constructs in order to build something new and hopefully truer to where humanity may be going. His breaking it all down, even his personal breakdown, heralded the much needed shadow work, personal and collective, required to bring about a more conscientious human being and collective. He, like the Christ, the
My crusty monk is less gracious with age and above said undergrowth breaking ground and through into the light of day. I croak these days more than sing and, alas, bring ire upon my oft misspoken, unrehearsed self and his rambles. Twilight dreams ramble, too, and thus I take their threads and fling myself dreamward in order to bring something from their undergrowth for this world of dust and roses longing for interpretation to itself, longing for, as the poet Rilke discovered, "an invisible re-arising in us", the all too human yet essential witnesses to existence. I weave my monk garb of said threads and have learned, obedient to the requirements of Self and the aion upon us, "to tread less softly upon the world."
To some, to true friends, come January I perhaps may be a little more emerged from the long retreat in the "hermitage" on the top floor above East 10th Street, church bells down the street marking time passages as the great wheel turns. I tend to emerge in the bleakness of winter (more than in the painfully green of summer), an Inuit past life no doubt breaking through.
Be weller all ye who dwell.
To dwell truly...therein is the task.
I am your Pere BB